Let’s all think back to the first time we read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and learned about the ubiquitous SEP Field. That’s what…pardon? You don’t remember what that means? Oh. Okay, well, for those of you who “don’t remember” [stern glare] either the Hitchhiker’s Guide or the SEP Field, here’s a refresher from the Hitchhiker’s Guide wiki:
Somebody Else’s Problem field, or SEP, is a cheap, easy, and staggeringly useful way of safely protecting something from unwanted eyes. It can run almost indefinitely on a torch (flashlight)/9 volt battery, and is able to do so because it utilises a person’s natural tendency to ignore things they don’t easily accept, like, for example, aliens at a cricket match. Any object around which an S.E.P. is applied will cease to be noticed, because any problems one may have understanding it (and therefore accepting its existence) become Somebody Else’s. An object becomes not so much invisible as unnoticed.
A perfect example of this would be a ship covered in an SEP field at a cricket match. A starship taking the appearance of a large pink elephant is ideal, because you can see it, but because it is so inconceivable, your mind can’t accept it. Therefore it can’t exist, thus ignoring it comes naturally.
A S.E.P. can work in much the same way in dangerous or uninhabitable environments. Any problem which may present itself to a person inside an S.E.P. (such as not being able to breathe, due to a lack of atmosphere) will become Somebody Else’s.
An S.E.P. can be seen if caught by surprise, or out of the corner of one’s eye.
Okay, now that we’re all on the same page [stern glare], in the recent Munk leaders’ debate, Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper went toe-to-toe over the Conservative government’s Bill C-24, which would change the Citizenship Act to empower the government to revoke the Canadian citizenship of a dual citizen if s/he is convicted of treason, espionage, or the nebulous “terrorism”. It provides the federal government the right to strip Canadian citizenship from anyone who is *eligible* for citizenship from another country. This is huge.
This doesn’t make any changes to the government’s ability to deny or revoke citizenship from someone who has obtained Canadian citizenship fraudulently. What it DOES do is put anyone eligible for dual citizenship (even if they were born in Canada) at risk. My parents and aunts and uncles would be at risk because one of their grandparents were born in the US, which makes them eligible for US citizenship. You can lose your Canadian citizenship if you commit a criminal offence in another country, whether or not that country has a corrupt political regime. (So, f’rinstance, if you are convicted of a crime in Saudi Arabia, you can lose your Canadian citizenship if you are a dual citizen or if you are eligible for dual citizenship.)
I’m not an expert, by any means, on citizenship rules or legislation.
Here’s the thing though. There’s outrage going around about how Trudeau said he would not revoke the Canadian citizenship of a terrorist. OUTRAGE. People are clutching their pearls and are pointing their shaky fingers and saying, “see!? SEE? That kid is going to roont the country! He’s soft! HE LOVES TERRORISTS!”
Leaving the logical fallacies and syllogisms aside, and pretending that we’re all thinking, reasonable people, let’s look at this. Trudeau is saying that once someone has legitimately received Canadian citizenship, they will always be a Canadian. ACCEPTING that if someone obtained their citizenship fraudulently (ie. if they lied on their application and only wanted to become a Canadian citizen to blow up, I dunno, Canada Post), their citizenship will be revoked. That means this: if you lie or are duplicitous or fraudulent in any way on your citizenship application, your citizenship is void. That counts for the vast numbers of people who emigrate to Canada for the sole purpose of having Canadian babies and raising them up to blow up Canada Post.
This is important. What Trudeau is saying is that Canadian citizenship is VALUABLE. That it means something. That it’s not just something that can be taken away like a driver’s permit. Hell, under Bill C-24, it’s easier to revoke someone’s citizenship than it is to revoke someone’s driver’s permit, even if they’re a repeat drunk driving offender. There is something *very* wrong with that. Trudeau is saying that IF Canadians engage in “terrorism” (and I have HUGE problems with the way “terrorism” is defined in this bill, and by the current political leader) or treason or espionage (this clause is ludicrous because Canadians engage in espionage all the time. Every first-world country does. It is, if you believe their government’s treatises, how they ensure the ‘safety’ of their citizens – by gathering ‘intelligence’ on the lies other first-world countries’ governments tell. That’s not even a conspiracy theory. I wish it were, but it isn’t), they ought to be tried AS CANADIANS and imprisoned, if found guilty, AS CANADIANS.
Trudeau is saying we oughtn’t allow Canadians to become Somebody Else’s Problem. Think about it. Dude X has dual Canadian-American citizenship. Dude X is convicted of terrorism because he’s part of a plot to blow up Canada Post. So we revoke his Canadian citizenship and send him home to the US. What does this solve? He may or may not be tried and/or imprisoned in his country of dual citizenship. He may or may not be punished. He may or may not make his way BACK to Canada because he really, really hates Canada Post.
In what way does it make sense to say “you are no longer a Canadian citizen, so we’re not going to keep tabs on you anymore. Buh-bye”?
I get that this whole thing is probably precipitated by the Omar Khadir debacle. Bill C-24 was the WRONG response to that whole ridiculous mess. Harper attempting to make Trudeau look like an ass over saying as much is sad at best. Trudeau only looks like an ass if you think that what he’s saying is that we should let go free the people who are convicted of treason or “terrorism”. That’s not what he’s saying. That’s never been what he’s saying; quite the opposite. He’s simply saying that Canadian citizens have rights, and that there oughtn’t be fewer rights for Canadian citizens who also hold citizenship elsewhere. He’s saying that people who fraudulently obtain Canadian citizenship were ALWAYS in the position of having their citizenship revoked. He’s saying that ANYBODY can become a “terrorist”, regardless of their citizenship, and that in the event a Canadian is convicted of “terrorism”, we shouldn’t just throw them out into the Great Big World and let them become Somebody Else’s Problem.
We have such an irrational fear of “radicalization”. Going back to straw man arguments, name me one person – ONE PERSON – you know *personally* who has become “radicalized”. Just one. Include the KKK, the neo-Nazis, skinheads, the Canadian Heritage Front, ISIS, Jihadists, and the frigging Moonies or Scientologists if you’d like. Name ONE. Not your neighbour’s sister’s dog’s second litter’s puppy’s fourth owner’s best friends’ brother-in-law’s fourth cousin twice removed. Someone you know personally. Or – hell – name me one person IN YOUR CIRCLE OF FRIENDS who has become “radicalized”.
I can name *one*. Out of HUNDREDS of people. And they ‘got better’. Their dalliance in pseudo-militia hate organizations has had a lasting effect on their family (they have had to change their names and live unlisted from all directories because the hate group this person was involved with still tries to get them involved). This person got involved with a hate group because of rhetoric like “[this group of people] is threatening our lives and our families’ security”.
This is why Harper’s insistence that dual citizens or people eligible for dual citizenship should have their citizenship revoked at the whim of the Minister (not a Judge – there doesn’t even need to be a hearing!) is wrong. It didn’t sit well when the bill was enacted in June, and I’m relieved to know the bill will be challenged in court. It’s why I think the finger-pointing and “clearly he’s an idiot”ing of Trudeau is laughable. Clearly the people saying this don’t have a fulsome understanding of the Bill nor of what Trudeau has been saying.
I didn’t even get in to how the amendments to the Citizenship Act contained in Bill C-24 basically remove due process and grant the Minister and his/her delegates to make these decisions without a hearing. Here is an excellent response from the Canadian Bar Association on Bill C-24. Trudeau isn’t “soft on terrorists”. He’s hard on the idea that it’s okay for some Canadians to have different *rights* than other Canadians.